Monday, January 31, 2011

We begin again

Sundays are rather exhausting days considering they are supposed to be a day of rest.

It takes awhile to get everyone dressed and ready to go.
Our church time is noon-3pm.
That means we eat a late breakfast,
and usually skip lunch,
because it takes all my effort and time to bathe, dress and comb 8 children and myself.
By 3pm, we are starving.

For a few months,
I had decided that I was going to ease up on my standards.
When the kids were little,
I had time to match bows to dresses,
and iron ruffly socks.

I had gone through a small phase recently where I didn't really care if the children were even wearing socks.
It's not right,
so I spent the last 2 months trying to give a little more.
We take a few extra minutes to find belts and jewelry.
Sometimes I wear big, curly hair.
We even put some gel in Maryn's wisps.

Yesterday, I had a plan.
Being without my better half,
I sent 2 kids to church with my mom.
That would leave me with Maryn,
who is super wiggly,
and Corbin who can't seem to want to whisper.
Typically both want my lap.

Well, 2 kids started a brawl over the front seat which kind of blew the mood for the ride over.
And then Cade spotted us,
and made his way to the front.
It was mayhem after that.
Maryn wants refills on the Sacrament bread and water,
and got a little loud trying to convince the row behind us to pass the tray back to her again.
The Olders were still cranky.
I ended up in the hall.
A padded room and a straight jacket would have been just as soothing.

To be honest,
I was centered pretty well,
and feeling just fine.
We were where we should be,
despite the struggles.

I walked back in to catch the last few minutes of the meeting.
We have Stake Conference coming in 2 weeks.
And then there was some lengthy instruction given about how to deal with rowdy children during this important 2 hour meeting.
It's hard for me not to feel a little defeated.
Bringing children to church is a challenge.
It's not like we aren't giving everything we can give already.
Little ones like Maryn and Cade have so much trouble sitting still.
I know some families can sit through their entire meeting together,
But it's still really hard for us.

Rather than being offended and avoiding the upcoming meeting,
I decided to come up with a strategy.
We will take our family to the meeting,
because its the right thing to do.

Well,
it's Monday.
My sticker chart is beckoning.
Today we begin training for Pat's Run.
It's sad that I have to train to run 4.2 miles,
but I really like that event.
The 5 older kids want to run it as well.
They have been running for a few months,
and the training will come easier for them,
but 4.2 miles will be a lot for Presley and Mama.

Last week,
the kids spent their money on iPod Shuffles,
because it's impossible to run without music.
Their reward for training the next 10 weeks is entrance into one of the funnest races in town.
There is a kids run, but it's not quite the same,
so they opted for the big race.
I am excited for them.
It will be a good day.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Revisit

It's a sleepy Sunday morning,
except for 3 little varmints that are pretty excited this morning.
I don't expect to see the Olders for a few more hours.
They are appreciating some extra time with their pillows after some late nights this weekend.

The week was good.
We implemented some changes.
The sticker charts will help until we settle into a solid routine.

Yesterday,
Dan discovered something I have known for awhile:
The children are capable,
even good at helping.
And so we are hoping to see good things from them this week.

Sundays are good days to re-double our efforts.

We need to be reminded of our laundry/dish days.
Monday - Sydney (and Presley's clothes) and Family room
Tuesday - Colin (Older Boy Clothes) and Living room
Wednesday - Reagan (Your clothes) and Loft, Stairs
Thursday - Caleb (Corbin and Cade's clothes) and Entryway
Friday - Presley and Dining room

Remember guys, that our home only functions when everyone is helping.

Thanks for the good meeting this morning,
and for being so willing to help.

One more thing....
Dad taught you what it means to work.
Good workers are never standing around, waiting to be told what to do next.
A good worker looks around to see where he or she can help.
We work hard at sports.
That means paying attention,
and following directions,
and most of all - hustling.

We don't have the kind of home where I will tell you what to do all day.
You know what is expected,
and it makes me so happy when you do what you need to without having to be reminded.

Please remember that cleaning up is hard work.
Rinsing our own dishes,
helping to clear the table,
putting our shoes, instruments, books, and toys away will really help.

Work Hard = Play Hard

I would love to see more playing.

One last and final thought this morning.
We love to watch Super Nanny,
and she has some pretty good ideas.
You know that we shouldn't whine and complain,
or fight and cause havoc.
You know that children and adults should use respect.
Sometimes we forget and it's good to be reminded.
Sometimes we need to do some push ups,
because it helps us focus.
And sometimes we need to run a lap around the block,
because it will help too.

I can't yell at you.
It makes me feel bad about myself,
but if you need to take some time to focus,
please accept it willingly.
-Run without complaining.
-Do your push ups strong and quickly.

I love you guys. You are amazing and I feel blessed to be part of your lives. Please know we are doing the very best we can for you.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

This guy

There was once this guy that I used to like to spend time with.
He always had crazy ideas for how to spend time.
Sometimes it was shopping for a new video game.
Sometimes it was visiting a weird historic monument.
Lots of times it was eating at favorite old restaurants where we ordered the exact same thing every time.
We saw tons of movies together.
We talked every day, 3 or 4 times.
He lived on the other side of town from me,
but that never mattered.
I visited him at work.
He visited me at mine.
He would tell me stories that I thought were really funny.

Sometimes I really miss that guy.

It's been 10 years since my dad died,
and I just realized how lonely I am without him.
I know I have posted about him before,
probably recently,
but today he seems so real,
it's like he is still here.
Wow...it's amazing how some memories never go away.

It's 'how he spent his time' that I am remembering most today.
He would call me out of the blue and say something like,
"I have to drive by some one's house who lives near Lake Pleasant. Wanna go? I know this little restaurant that serves the best apple pie. We could stop for pie."
I would drop everything and go.
I was usually a little more prepared because I knew he could call at any time.
That's what I am missing today.
The little excitement of doing chores,
just in case there was something fun to do.

Caleb has been dying to see a movie lately.
I keep telling him no.
Grandpa Roger would have taken you without any hesitation.

Colin has been interested in swords and firearms.
He had some guns you would have shot dozens of times by now.

Sydney and my mom share a strong bond for the artsy-fartsy Broadway musical events.
You would have, no doubt, seen Joseph by now.
He loved that one.

Reagan and Presley would know all the oldies.
They are the age he liked taking kids on road trips to museums.
Road trips meant music and food,
2 of my favorite things.

Corbin and Cade would have some kind of collection from a fast-food place.
He liked getting toys from kid's menus.
He had collections for the little ones,
and would hone in on the thing that the kids favored,
and then find every one he could for them,
even if it meant driving across town to the place that had it that week.

Maryn would have loved his snuggly tummy.
She is a cuddler.
She sits for lengthy periods of time right next to me,
with my arm around her.

I miss the lunches the most.
There is something about going out to eat,
where there aren't any distractions,
and nothing between people except a bowl of chips and some good conversation.

I loved that my dad was always about 'experiences.'
He never had much money,
but he didn't mind spending money if it meant that there were some good memories to be made.

My all-time-favorite memory:
When I would go home,
with an empty purse,
and an empty gas tank,
and he would drive me down to Circle K.
He was such a good dad.
We laughed for hours.
He always had a hug for me.

There is no point in dwelling on things that cannot be.
I just feel bad that the kids don't know him like I do.

Lately, I have been wondering if I have have a different understanding of my Heavenly Father because of my dad.
He was so good to me,
always available,
always accepting,
so willing to help.

Not all dads are like that though.
Some dads are harsh and unapproachable.
They prefer their kids to figure things out the hard way,
or they aren't as accepting when their kids do things differently.
I am wondering what Heavenly Father is really like.
Is He like my dad,
a silent shoulder to cry on,
and ready to help if He can?
Or maybe He's not so much like that,
because sometimes kids are frustrating and patience isn't always so available.

I haven't figured out what kind of parent I am yet.
I never pictured myself as the real parental type.
I don't like to tell them what to do.
I don't really like to give advice,
except I prefer that they hear the hard stuff from me,
rather than not know.

I wonder if our kids are thinking that they are blessed in their childhood,
or if it's a hard time for them.
I wonder what they feel they are missing,
and what I can improve on.

One phrase that sticks forever in my mind is:
"Kids deserve to go to bed at night with love tucked all around them."
I am lazy sometimes.
I don't do all I can.
It's not because I lack the desire,
just the energy.
I love them so much,
and I know they will be gone in a blink.
Sydney is nearly as tall as me now,
and so mature.
She keeps her own schedule,
and I am finding it hard to get time with her some days.
The others are following close behind her.

I know we have many years of little ones ahead,
and our house will not be empty any time soon.
I just hope my kids remember me the way I remember my parents.

Maybe Saturdays will get their spark back.
Maybe there will be little reasons that I feel like being ready on a moment's notice.
Lately,
it's not been so much,
and I admit that I feel a little lonely.

That's today.
Sad.

Friday, January 28, 2011

It's time

It's time to say goodbye to some of my regular things,
because my life is a bit crowded,
and there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day.

I don't love the TV in my bedroom,
although I love spending time with the kids watching it.
There is nothing like being surrounded by 8 little peeps,
all different ages and interests,
doing the exact same thing.

Still, I miss when it used to be reading the Harry Potter series.

And it's time to visit FB only once in blue moon.
My epiphany this morning told me I should delete it off my phone.
The app I need more is for Crossfit.
I will miss hearing what's going on,
but perhaps it's time to find some play group friends instead.
I am long past it with my old friends,
but there is always room for new friends.
And my little ones are still really little.
They still love the park.

People are still doing play groups right?

And if I don't find one,
Maryn is super cute at babbling with me for hours.

I think Netflix has served it's purpose.
It's time to end.

And I miss Costco on Mondays.
I tried to live without it,
but I've been miserable ever since.

Our sleeping situation isn't working right now.
It won't change for a few years,
but I can try to come up with a better solution.

Over the years,
I have learned that sometimes we have to give up things we enjoy for something more meaningful.
It's called sacrifice.
What doesn't a parent sacrifice for his or her child?
I lead a discussion recently with the women about this subject.
I am pretty sure I will get fired from that job over that lesson.
It's okay.
Teaching is extremely humbling,
and I have a really hard time masking my personality.
I wish I could stand in front of a room full of ladies,
and tell them how wonderful it is to make sacrifices.
The truth is,
it is a wonderful thing,
and necessary,
but it doesn't always feel wonderful.
Sometimes I really don't understand it.
For example,
I was having a really hard time understanding why God would ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.
What loving God would ask such a thing?
It seemed like a harsh request.
I threw it out for discussion in class,
but didn't get a comforting answer.
One thought that made sense was:
God requires different things from each of us.
He knows what is hardest to give up,
and sometimes He asks for that thing.

I came home and shared with Dan that I was still not satisfied.
Without much thought he said,
"Who else sacrificed His only Son?"
Right.
So Abraham was asked to make the sacrifice,
that he might fully understand how our Heavenly Father felt when He gave His Son to save mankind.
That made sense.
It was through Abraham that we received the Abrahamic Covenant.
Only a really good guy,
with an incredible understanding of the Gospel,
could have made that possible.

So I have spent the last 2 weeks trying to figure out what I need to change in my world to make it work.
Some sacrifices are permanent.
Some are temporary.

I gave up one thing that I was really enjoying.
I had been stubborn about it at first,
but once I decided it needed to go,
Poof.
It was gone and I didn't miss it.
I felt better doing the right thing.

How do we know what the right thing is?
How can we figure out how God wants us to change?
We simply listen,
mostly with our hearts.
That requires having our hearts in the right places.

I was once in a meeting that I had never attended before although it was always available.
I heard something that changed my thinking,
and directed me down a different path.
I try to never miss important things like that if I can help it.
It's why I seldom miss church.

One of the best places I find answers is in the scriptures.
It's weird how those old stories and lessons spark new thoughts in me all the time.
I wish I was more disciplined about my study.
I wonder how much easier my decisions would come?

Well,
those are my thoughts today.

The sticker charts helped yesterday.
I noticed that some of the kids are highly motivated by lists.
It's no surprise.
I am happy they want to try to better themselves.

In my busy mind,
I am beginning to find some order.
It's who I have always been,
and what I have nearly lost in the last few years.
I am feeling more secure with finding myself again,
the person I came here to be.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lists

One Day in high school,
I had been sitting with a bunch of people....and a boy I liked.
In our boredom,
Someone grabbed my notebook and started reading the first page.
It was my list.
I was embarrassed because I had some personal things on my "Daily List of Things to Do"
They laughed that I put stuff like "Prayer" and "Scripture Reading"
I felt ashamed.

Looking back,
I feel embarrassed now that I felt ashamed back then.
I guess I have come a long way,
because I no longer care what people think.
Life without prayer and scripture study in amazingly difficult.
Life without goals and lists is nearly impossible.

My world is so far from perfect,
but I remember a night a few years ago,
when I attended a meeting for women.
A really average woman shared her thoughts about how she managed her home,
and some of the things that helped her.
It spoke to me,
and I adopted it.

There was a time when I actually tried to live what I had learned.
It was the happiest time I can remember.
I felt organized and disciplined,
and best of all....peace.

So I dug up the old spreadsheet and updated it.
(I had to add 3 children and up my daily laundry loads)


Here is my favorite list.
(I didn't think of these things all by myself
but I tweaked it to fit our family's needs.)



Daily

Get Dressed,
Comb Hair,
Brush/Floss Teeth ,
Make Beds
Get Dressed to the Shoes
Morning Prayers and Scripture
Clean Bathroom Fixtures and Floor
Wash and Fold three loads of laundry
Take out Trash, Feed/Water the Dog
Straighten House in the AM and PM
Prepare Meals
Care For and Train Children,
Work on Academics
Scanning and Typing
Exercise and Play Time for Mom, Dad and Kids
Night Scripture and Prayers
Read to the children

Sydney – MDLP, Spanish, Personal Progress
Colin – Math Facts, Finish All Work, Sports, Scouts
Caleb – Homework, Chores, Faith in God
Reagan – Reading, Homework, Faith in God
Presley – Chores, Sports
Corbin- Speech, Play time, Chores
Cade-Speech, Potty Training, Safety
Maryn-Speech, Safety


Monday
Grocery Store,
Shopping,
Catch up on laundry
FHE

Tuesday And Thursday
Dust Furniture
Sweep and Mop Main Areas
Shake scatter rugs
Ironing/Get Church Clothes Ready

Wednesday
Baking
Park Time 12-2pm
Meal Planning

Friday
Temple and Journal
Change Linens on a Few Beds
Personal Time for Appointments,Visiting, Special Projects
Date Night

Saturday
Yardwork,
Doggy maintenance
Change Linens on Rest of Beds
Vacuum and Dust All Areas
Water Plants
Remove Fingerprints
Sweep and Mop
Cook and Bake for Sunday

Sunday
Attend Church Meetings
Prepare Family Home Evening and Calendaring
Read and Study, Journaling
Family Hour and Family Council
Work on Family History
Home and Visiting Teaching


Include One of the Following Each Week:


First Saturday

Dust Baseboards and Window Ledges
Give Service

Second Saturday

Thorough Vacuuming of Sofas
Clean Mirrors, Picture Frames, Lamp Shades
Clean Light Fixtures

Third Saturday

Wash Windows
Give Service

Fourth Saturday

Good Clean of Floors
Clean Grout Lines
Wash Rugs

Fifth Saturday

Clean Closets, Cupboards, Drawers
Special Family Outing

Quarterly
October, January, April, August

Polish Furniture
Clean Range and Oven
Clean Refrigerator
Sort Seasonal Clothing

Semi Annual Spring and Fall Cleanings
June and November

Garage
Good Clean of Yard


Weekly Saturday Activities

Hair Cuts
Date Night
Fun Activity with the Kids
Payment for Chores
Prepare Tithing or Fast Offerings



So I made myself a sticker chart.
It's taped up in my bathroom.
I made some for the kids.
They are taped to their bedroom doors.
They can cash in their charts for money every 2 weeks.

Here's some advice for my kids.
Don't lose your chart.
Don't destroy your chart in any kind of angry rage.
Be absolutely honest.
If you can't complete your tasks for the day,
just do as much as you can,
and start over the next day.

The most important thing is that we all keep trying.

Good luck guys.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A little lesson

Here's a link to a 4 minute video.

When I first saw it,
it touched my heart.

Last night,
after a little incident,
I gathered all the children on my bed,
and we watched it again.

I wonder what the world would be like,
if every child learned this lesson,
and carried it into adult life.

Some people are just naturally born to serve with kindness.
Everyone else has to be taught.

I hope my kids always remember this little video,
every time they are in a position where they are tempted to have fun at someone else's expense.

I can think of a million ways that kids amuse themselves.

There are the more mischievous methods of graffiti, vandalism, firearms, etc.
Those things will land you in jail.

There are the less harmful acts such as throwing oranges, eggs and popping fireworks.
Not a good choice if you run into someone with a temper.

Playing pranks has been a favorite for centuries,
although there is almost never any good that comes from a prank.

There are the non-destructive forms of self entertainment:
Doorbell ditching, TP-ing, or innocent trickery, gossiping, teasing.
Those acts beg the question....
"Is anything good coming from this?"
The answer will usually be "No."
And when the answer is No,
it means you should find a more constructive and helpful way to spend your time.

And finally there are the "Just Plain Stupid" things that people do,
which might accidentally hurt themselves or someone else,
and lives are spent in regret over a moment of fun.

Sydney asked me recently if I would disapprove of her getting a tattoo for fun.
I said,
"Look, if you want to have something permanently etched on your body for the rest of your life....that's your business.
Would I sign a consent form? No Way.
But what you do as an adult is your choice."

I meant it.
She laughed.
She said there has been some discussion going around lately,
and most kids have different stories to tell about their parents.

There is something to having little sit-downs with our kids.
We all come here with brains in our heads,
but lessons of humanity must be deliberately taught.

To my children:
You can know without a doubt,
that you have been taught.
Entertainment always comes at a cost.
Please be considerate of those around you at all times.
Not all of your friends will have the same understanding that you do.
Not all of their parents will have the same beliefs I do.

I hope you will make good decisions in your life,
and strive to always be in the right place at the right time, doing the right things.

And when there is nothing else to do,
and you find yourself bored,
please think of something to do that will brighten someone else's day.

I promise it will always leave you with a good feeling.

Monday, January 24, 2011

...

It's Monday.
Feels like it too.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wicked

We drove down to Tucson to see Wicked last night.
It's an amazing production.
Having a child-Thespian has really opened my eyes to a new world.
Thanks kid, for adding so much color to my world.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tuesday

The last munchky just walked out the door.

The morning was surprisingly peaceful.
It's always that way after a good break,
when the kids and Dan are ready to get back to work and school.
No one complains about getting ready,
and everyone did their chores to boot.

So there was some funny stuff yesterday with Dan.
He had spent four straight days with children.
He cooked for them,
fed them,
bathed them,
dressed them,
played with them,
cleaned up after them,
played with them some more,
read to them,
and did so, so many things around the house.
He was super dad.

I stayed locked away with Sydney working on school work.
Our brains are a little fried,
but I can tell you exactly how to calculate density,
and what gas bananas give off.
I remember what the Pythagorean Theorem is,
and what light would be best to take photos in.
Not really useful information,
but I enjoyed the time with Sydney.

Anyway,
by last night,
we were gathered together for family night.
Dan was on the couch looking rather comfy,
when a pile of children came clamoring in to find room on his lap.

There is a familiar feeling among moms at the end of a long day.
It's the "I just want to sit by myself" feeling.
Dan had it.
He moved over to a hard chair in the corner
and later commented that he finally understands me.

He made sure our house kept moving.
It meant everything to me.

I know I give the guy a hard time.
He never deserves it.
He's truly amazing in every way,
(He's even getting better a dressing the children,
in clothes that mostly match).

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday

Dear Caleb,

You don't need to worry that I might have hurt dad's feelings with my last post. We understand each other pretty well in our relationship, and we have always been able to joke freely with each other.

Dad came in on Saturday night after 2 days of taking care of you guys, and he told me that it's been awhile since he had done that, and that he remembers that it is hard work. I think you and Colin and Reagan and Presley had a little taste of it too the other night when you each had someone to care for.

Sydney gives many hours to each of you through her service. She gives tons of hours to me too. It's okay that we spent a week helping her stay focused on her work.

Please don't worry about Dad. He holds his own pretty well, but if it makes you feel better, I will go easier on him.

Love you, Caleb. Thank you for being such a kind and sensitive kid.

Mom

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday

Still at it with the science.

Dad is in charge today.
He got into some trouble when he over-committed himself this morning,
but he's done okay since then.

Dad in charge apparently means:
playing outside
getting dirty
little to no progress on the house chores
fire pit
marshmellows
bubble baths
movie night

Remember, hon.....you must serve a useful purpose.

Dan just came in to inform me that he is ready to go down and watch the movie with the kids.
Really?
(with raised eyebrows, I give my disapproving look)
He says, "Oh because I have a lesson to teach tomorrow?"
And I added, "And....A house to clean, and clothes to get ready."

He replied, "Quit bustin' my balls."

That always makes me laugh.

And now I am listening to him converse with the kids.
Maryn calls him "Mah-dy"
Cade has some big plans that Dan is rejecting.
Corbin wants more marshmellows.....just one...one?

Well,
back to science.
We are still here,
somewhere buried under the hypothesis statement.

oh...btw...we need angel food cake up here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday

Yeah for Friday!
Thing 1 comes home today!!
I am blaming everything on the Cat in the Hat.

We are still amid finishing the classes.
Today is a science experiment and some finals.

Yesterday, when the kids got home,
I asked them to each take an assignment.
Caleb took Corbin.
Colin took Cade.
Reagan and Presley shared time with Maryn.

Their responsibilities:
Wherever you go, they go.
You must feed them,
play with them,
bathe them,
read to them,
and put them to bed,
and be sure to finish your own homework somewhere in there too.

It was a really interesting night.
Caleb and Presley took the job seriously.
I appreciated their help.

I noted that the kids were extra careful to help the little ones stay clean,
so they didn't have to trouble with a bath.

Presley dressed Maryn in a cute little outfit,
and played with her.
Dinner was hot dogs,
which they prepared for themselves and the minion they were charged with.

Every now and then I heard something like,
"uhhhhh......!!!"
and then a look over to me for help.
No. It's your job tonight.
And they worked through it.
There was some frustration,
and everyone was all too ready to climb into their beds.

I realize that Colin, Caleb, Reagan and Presley really have not had any experience caring for the little ones.
It was good for them to help,
and I super appreciated it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday

I only have a minute.
The week has been busy.
Maryn continues to wake up screaming in the night.

Last night,
as I laid in my bed,
waiting for the child to subdue,
(with a pillow over my head),
my thoughts turned to the dog.
Apparently, Cade can't read,
and didn't understand my instructions regarding the peanut butter.
He made quite the sight of himself,
and then tried to clean up in the powder bathroom,
which is now covered in peanut butter.
It reminded me of that Doctor Seuss book,
where the cat is trying to get the spot off moms dress,
and before they know it,
there are spots on everything.
He gets Thing 1 and Thing 2 to make it all right.

For me,
In moments like that,
I stop and remind myself to breathe.

I didn't clean it up last night,
because the doorbell and phone never quit ringing all afternoon and evening.

In the middle of the night,
I was thinking about the best product in my arsenal
which might effectively remove multiple peanut butter spots.
I don't have any Things,
but I do have a dog,
and he LOVES peanut butter.
(We feed it to him because it will supposedly help with his ADHD).

I had a vision of letting Lars loose in the bathroom,
and having him lick the walls and sink clean.

It's a good idea, right?
It worked for Dr. Seuss.

Well, it's morning.
I am sitting in what appears to be the fallout sector of a bombing zone.
School is in full swing,
with all it's papers and paraphernalia.
We are lacking some serious balance,
and I don't anticipate having any for at least another week.

It is Thursday.
Today is not the day.

This afternoon,
I will post a sign.

"Mom has put herself in Time Out.
Everyone else is grounded.
Please come back another day....next month."

We might put on jammies,
and spend some time in the quiet,
with only the soothing sounds of the vacuum cleaning,
and pencils moving.

Sounds blissful.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday

Corbin is snuggled here next to me playing peek-a-boo under in my warm covers.
Dan woke up early to help Colin finish a project.
I stayed up late helping Sydney.
We are putting some things on hold for a week to focus on schoolwork.

When I was young,
I didn't enjoy learning as much as these kids do.
I wish I had seen education less as a chore
and more as an opportunity.
It would be nice to have retained that sharpness for remembering things like we have when we are young.

Redemption is coming through my kids,
and their endless work.
By the time number 8 makes it to the Pyramids of Giza,
I will be able to tell you exactly the height of brick #247
in centimeters,
and everything else there is to know about Egypt,
mythology,
science,
algebra,
and all that other stuff.

Maybe, by then, I will drop phrases like, "all that other stuff."

Springs always awakens in me, a desire to learn.

It's getting warmer this week.
We might even go outside if the temp gets above 70.

Happy Wednesday.
Today is not the day,
but we will survive.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday

I have been having trouble staying asleep at night.
Mayrn has the same problem.
Last night,
for the better part of an hour,
she played in her crib.
It was 2am.
I couldn't sleep,
so I took Dan's advice and picked up my scriptures.
He insists they are THE Best tranquilizer on the market.
I read for a really longggg time.
Surprisingly,
I felt tons better,
and finally went back to sleep.

This morning,
one by one,
our elementary kids came in.
We combed hair
and talked about the picketing of the Tucson funerals,
and the political morons who feel the need to ruin the peace of everyone else.
I told Colin that we should go down and be 'angels',
because there are 10 of us,
and that's a lot.
He said,
"So you want to put Maryn in a human barricade?"
Right. Maybe she is too small?
Okay, we will wait till she is a bit bigger.

Have I mentioned that I have some of the best kids on the planet?
This morning,
it was cold,
but they got themselves up,
got ready,
and were excited to go to school.
It means so much to me.

Colin is NOT super excited this morning.
Apparently, I have to re-direct his computer hacking skills down a more positive avenue.
Changing the schools file name to "Colin is Awesome" was frowned upon yesterday.
I do appreciate that you only changed your own file, son,
but perhaps you should hone your computer skills on our personal family network,
and possibly perfect them to be useful in some legal, intelligence agency at a later date when you are actually old enough to be employed.
1 day of detention isn't so rough.
Do I really have to take a phone call from the principle about stuff like this?

The boy went to school early to get morning recess in.
Lunch recess will be spent in 'solitary'.
Colin did mention that he only got 1 day detention,
whilst some of his classmates received an entire week.
1 day isn't good though, son.
Keep trying.

To Caleb: I can only go on what I've heard, but I will at some point agree that Hunger Games is the best book ever. I will see you in a few days when you have finished the series. Come out to eat every now then, k?

To Reagan: What books are you reading right now? There are so many to choose from. We could pick one together, because it's been 6 months since I even picked up a book.

Presley: I love Junie B Jones. She is super funny.

To all the other minions....I love you. Peanut butter is not a toy, and I need it for the dog, so no touchy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hammy

Dan took Colin out to get a new pet.
He brought home a crying, baby dwarf hamster.
It runs really fast.

Thanks Babe.

I suggested to Colin that he find one on Craigslist.
Colin prefered a hamster that wasn't all used up.

Welcome, Hammy.
May you live out your years happily here with us.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday

We slept all night.
It had a little something to do with the fact that everyone (Maryn and all) went to bed after 11:30pm last night.
Sometimes,
bad schedules need shocking back into routine.
So......
up late,
up early,
hopefully we can fix our sleep issues.

Alone, in my quiet closet this morning,
I found myself again feeling completely overwhelmed.
I started thinking about all the things that seem to be lacking,
all the things I don't accomplish as well as I would like.

In my silent, self deprecating moment,
One phrase came into my mind and heart,
"Don't be so hard on yourself."

I thought about each of my kids,
and what they seem to be needing,
and what I might do to help them.
I thought of their strengths,
and all the smiles they bring to the world.
I prayed for each one individually.

Right now,
as second semester begins,
we need to spend some extra time on our studies.
We probably need to put our heads down and get some work done for a few weeks.
Maybe, if we try extra hard,
when we look up again,
it will be warmer outside,
and this winter gloom will be over.

Cade turned 3.
You know what that means.
It's Potty Training Time......again.
He did great yesterday.
It's always a little confusing at first.
For instance,
the first time he had to go,
he only made it to the bathtub.
It's a drain....of sorts.
And last night,
making the final rounds,
I corralled all the little sleepies to their bathrooms,
and Cade joined right in,
next to Corbin.
Two little boys standing up to a potty.
Cade was on his very tippy toes.
(That's probably TMI),
but it was kind of cute.
He tucked into his fire truck bed,
no diaper,
no pullup.
We quit cold turkey around here.
This morning,
he woke up dry and went right in to use the potty.

It's the little things, right?

Added to the list of things to do this week:
-Take Cade to the bathroom every hour.

Well,
the grumpies are emerging.
"Shocking Days" are always met with resistence:
Longer showers.
Grumbling over chores.
A meltdown here and there.

Hey guys,
It's Saturday.
We haven't had Dad all to ourselves on a Saturday in months.
Today is a good day.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday

Maryn woke up crying in the night.
It's becoming a trend.
I think she's been cold.
I changed her,
gave her a bottle,
and laid her back down,
but she wouldn't have it.
For a long time,
in the middle of the night,
I rocked her in the rocking chair,
wrapped in my favorite, warm horse blanket.

She wanted nothing to do with her bed,
and it made me sad to put her back crying.
I cranked the heat up,
so her piggies wouldn't freeze.

Last night was long.
This morning we are tired.

Yesterday, I spent a few minutes making myself a sticker chart.
Sydney laughed at me.
I wanted to show Colin,
and I took it with me to pick him up from practice,
but Maryn got a hold of it,
and slobbered it to bits.
I wonder why I can't get much accomplished some days?

It's Friday.
I. Am. So. Glad.

I can't figure out why I am feeling cranky.
Yesterday,
it occurred to me that the holidays are fairly stressful,
or at least they were this year.
I love that time of year,
but I am feeling like plopping down on a beach somewhere
and taking a nap in the warmth of the sun.
It could also be my approaching birthday,
which I dislike.
It could be that I really just need to clean my carpets.

So this is for my little angels:

Sydney,
I love you for getting up every morning in the dark,
getting yourself ready,
and going out in the cold.
You amaze me.

Colin,
It seems like this quarter will be tougher.
You are doing a great job.
I am happy to get you a pet.
You are so responsible with things like that.
Thanks for being such a great kid.

Caleb,
You remind me to stop and enjoy the moments.
I love that about you.
Have fun with your friends on Dad's team.
It's going to be a great experience that you will always remember.
I love you.

Reagan,
It's tough to keep up with you these days.
I am happy you stay so active,
and you are so happy.
Thank you for going with me the other night.
It was fun to have a little time together as girls.

Presley,
My little free-spirited artist.
I find reminders of you all over the house.
I think there is something extraordinary about your mind,
and I will do my best to help you unlock it.
Remember your painting of your favorite numbers?
It was not random.
It was amazing.
Keep studying, little minion.

Corbin,
You play.
You play.
You play.
You are developing your father's wit,
which makes me smile when I want to be angry.
I think it's funny that you have been watching Teletubbies,
in German.
That show was strange and enchanting
in English.
I am sorry we skipped Barney
and went straight to Pirates of the Caribbean.
Barney was kind of weird though,
so don't feel too bad.
You are fearless and careful and I love you.

Cade,
You are your father's child;
Smart and funny,
busy,
hopelessly attached to me.
We have lots about nothing to talk about all day.
I love you.

Maryn,
My newest little monkey to hang around the pantry all day.
You are itty, bitty standing in the doorway,
looking up to consider what you would make yourself to eat,
if only you could.
Can you slow down just a bit?
I have never seen such a small person consume so much food.
It's only a moment that I have the honor of being your favorite.
I don't mind holding you.
Maybe we should have a little talk about the floor.
It's okay if your feet touches it.
Sydney and I have been acting as your personal crane the last few weeks.
We lower you down to reach what you want,
but you act as if you're standing on hot lava if we put you on the ground.
Go.
Explore the floor.
It's a good place to be.
Promise.

Lars,
You eat stuff.
Lots of stuff.
The downstairs is cold.
I believe you had something to do with that.
Thank you for being a good dog,
and not eating your own poo.
Thank you for not running away,
and forcing me into a position of choosing whether or not to look for you.
I think you are cute,
from a distance.

Fish,
You are my favorite.
I don't even remember that you exist.
If you die,
I don't feel bad,
because I never think of you.
Mostly,
you don't die,
and that makes me feel successful as a person.
You are my favorite today.
I will even feed you,
if I remember.
It's super good that you don't require much food or attention.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thursday

It's been so cold here.
We have been bundled up for a week.
I miss my 100 degree days,
so, so, much.

How do people live where it snows?
It's too cold to work out,
too cold to play outside,
too cold to do chores,
too cold to leave the house.

Today,
we said goodbye to the preschool pet, Hammy.
Colin did a great job domesticating him,
and I was sad to see Hammy go back....
well, right up to the moment where he bit me,
just before I loaded him in the car.

Colin wanted me to fake his death,
so we could keep him.
Perhaps,
we will get another pet,
preferably one that doesn't bite.

Anyone have any great motivational ideas to kick start the new year?
I am fresh out of ideas.
And if the weather doesn't improve on it's own,
I might never come out from under the pile of blankets that I've been hibernating under.

Basketball season has begun.
It's something.

Yesterday we celebrated our sweet little Cade's birthday.
He got trucks, and animals and toys that make noise,
everything perfect.

I love my little man.

Last night, I had a talk with him about staying in his bed all night.
He did.
Wow.
It's amazing how far a short conversation can go.

Thanks, little angel, for filling our days with fun.
We love you to pieces.